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Divorcing an Abusive Spouse: What to Consider

Carlsbad, CA – Divorce and domestic violence are each serious enough on their own, but when coupled together, they can create a terrible situation indeed. Divorcing an abusive spouse is something no one should have to face, yet many do. In California alone, nearly 33% of women and 27% of men experience domestic violence in their lives. In the U.S. as a whole, over 12 million women and men go through this ordeal every year.

Divorcing an Abusive Spouse
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“There is absolutely no excuse for abusive behavior,” says John Griffith, a Carlsbad divorce attorney. “If you feel unsafe in your home or that you’re being abused, please call 9-1-1 immediately. No one should have to put up with an abusive spouse.”

There are other resources for those facing abuse, including The National Domestic Violence Hotline and The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. Both of these sites have contact numbers and information about what steps to take for those living in an abusive household.

Defining Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence is abuse or threats of abuse when the two parties involved are spouses, domestic partners, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, living together or used to, or are close family members.

California law gives a fairly broad definition of domestic violence, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexual assault
  • Physically hurting or trying to hurt someone
  • Threatening someone with harm or injury
  • Harassing, stalking, hitting, or causing fear of harm
  • Destroying personal property
  • Physically abusing family pets
  • Verbally, emotionally, or psychologically abusing someone

How to Divorce an Abusive Spouse

As each domestic abuse case is completely unique, it’s best to seek counsel from a reputable family law firm. These are some common steps to take when seeking a divorce from an abusive spouse:

  • Prepare. There is much to do before the actual divorce proceedings begin. This may include:
    • Securing separate financial accounts
    • Gathering evidence like photographs of damaged property or bodily injuries; harassing or threatening texts, emails, or voice messages; eyewitness accounts for anyone who knows of the abuse happening
    • Filing a police report. Getting the entire situation on record before the divorce can help in the long run, especially if children are involved.
    • Having a plan. It’s necessary to find a safe place to stay until the divorce is finalized.
  • Get a protective order. If the person filing for divorce and/or the children involved face any immediate harm, it’s best to get a restraining order.
  • Seek legal counsel. While it’s always best to have legal help during any divorce, it’s especially essential to seek top-notch family law attorneys to get the intricacies of the case done properly.

If you’re seeking a way out of an abusive marriage, schedule a consultation with our attorneys as soon as possible to get started. You can also call (858) 345-1720 in San Diego or (858) 345-1720 in Carlsbad.

About us: We at Griffith, Young, and Lass provide expert legal counsel on a wide array of family law cases. We offer our clients in Southern California unparalleled experience and professionalism, always aiming for the best outcome possible.

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